Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute

Nova Scotia, 2000-2014


The ALIA Institute was based in Halifax from its founding in 2000 to January 2014, when it moved to Colorado to become part of the new Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University. 

For 15 years, ALIA's week-long summer institutes brought 200-300 people from around the world to Nova Scotia each June. They came to study with leading thinkers and practitioners in fields related to systems change and social innovation, and to grow their own leadership.

ALIA was situated at an emerging edge of theory and practice, at a time when organizations and communities were recognizing the need to become more nimble and adaptive. The week-long gatherings included tools for solving complex problems and thriving in complexity as well as leadership practices drawn from mindfulness and the arts.

Many of the faculty and some of the participants returned to ALIA year after year and made an ongoing connection with the people and place of Nova Scotia. 

ALIA's ongoing partners and faculty in this exciting exploration included Peter Senge (founder of the Society for Organizational Learning and author of The Fifth Discipline and The Necessary Revolution), Margaret Wheatley (founder of the Berkana Institute and author of Leadership and the New Science and many others), Adam Kahane (co-found of Reos Partners and author of Solving Tough Problems, Power and Love, Transformative Scenario Planning and Collaborating with the Enemy), Otto Scharmer (founder of the Presencing Institute and author of Theory U), Wendy Palmer (founder of Leadership Embodiment), Juanita Brown (co-founder of the World Cafe), Toke Moeller (co-founder of the Art of Hosting), and a creative process team that included Barbara Bash, Arawana Hayashi, Lanny Harrison and Jerry Granelli, to name just a few.

Over the years, ALIA offered similar leadership institutes in the Netherlands, Ohio, Ontario, B.C. and Washington State. Locally, ALIA also co-founded (with the United Way) Envision Halifax as well as the community-based Rural Communities Leading and Growth Starts Here leadership programs. ALIA offered a master class in Authentic Leadership in collaboration with Margaret and Jim Drescher of Windhorse Farm.

You can read more about ALIA's first ten years in this Little Book of Practice for Authentic Leadership in Action.

THRIVE builds on the success of the ALIA Summer Institutes, combining elements that create a dynamic and empowering learning environment, and in some cases drawing on the expertise of ALIA friends and returning faculty.